Ferriday Economic Director Rev. James E. Smith and private citizen and businessman Clint Vegas held a luncheon June 2 at Haney’s Big House to update Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner and aldermen on the plan to change out water lines in the town.
The town has received $7 million under the state's Capital Outlay Funding to upgrade the town's existing water system to bring it into compliance with the clean water standards and replace non-working fire hydrants.
Vegas said there are 250-plus fire hydrants in the Town of Ferriday and 26 cannot be opened.
“And we’ve got some that are too low to the ground,” Vegas said.
Vegas said the 40 new hydrants will be installed.
Vegas said the biggest problem is that water lines in Ferriday are either two inches or four inches in diameter and should be six inches.
"Once all the corroded pipes are replaced and the water treatment plant renovations completed, the citizens of Ferriday will have clean and safe water," Turner said.
“The citizens of Ferriday will definitely see better water pressure,” Vegas said.
Smith and Vegas volunteered their assistance for the town when Sherrie McMahon was mayor.
"I want to thank Andy Anders and Neil Riser for putting this through when they were in office, and Sherrie and Rydell for staying on top of it," Smith said. "Both really worked hard to get this for the town. Clint being on the governor's revitalization team really helped out. This is really unheard of to get this kind of money this year."
Vegas, Smith and Ferriday officials met with Gov. John Bel Edwards recently to discuss the project.
“The governor wants to see where it starts and where it ends,” Vegas said of the project.
Vegas said the water lines have not been replaced since 1981.
“We’re at the preliminary stage where the town has to approve and sign off on the project,” Vegas said. “Once we get past that stage, we can start bidding it out.”
Jatinder Goel of Baton Rouge and Ferriday native Davis Cole who has offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, will be the engineers on the project.
“We’re looking at about 90 days before they start on the project,” Vegas said. “Council members understand what we are doing and approve of it”
Vegas said pipes will be replaced starting in the old part of town.
“We’ll start at Mickey Gilley and go to Delaware,” he said. “And then we will hit the main line on Fifth Street, and then Lake Concordia going down to Concordia Drive.”
Vegas said when former Mayor McMahon took office the town fire rating was a 10.
“She helped lower it to a seven and we’re hoping in the next two years to get it to five,” Vegas said. “This is going to help everybody’s house insurance. And (Fire Chief) Joe Sontoyo has done a very good job on this.”